Black Power in Eastern Europe: Angela Davis Between Socialist Heads of State and Artists > new research supported by the Gerda-Henkel Foundation starts in September 2020

Who shows solidarity with whom and how does not only have significant consequences for the ones to be oppressed, but also can be part of political instrumentalization. Angela Davis` case and the double solidarity with her by artists and by dictators of Eastern European states in the 1970s is one striking example. Davis was made an icon of resistance by socialist governments in the former Eastern Bloc, but never openly expressed solidarity with those who were oppressed or dissented within Eastern Europe’s party dictatorships. It was oppositional artists in the socialist countries who criticized both Davis’ lack of solidarity, which might be explained by a lack of information in the beginning, as well as the hypocrisy of their government’s support.


Both Erich Honecker and several non-state-artists called for “Freedom for Angela Davis!”. Yet while Honecker targeted oppression in the West, the artists sought to draw attention to their own oppression under the same slogan.